‘By a Flash and a Scare’

Arson, Animal Maiming, and Poaching in East Anglia 1815-1870

By John E. Archer
By A Flash
‘By a Flash and a Scare’ illuminates the darker side of rural life in the nineteenth century. Flashpoints such as the Swing riots, Tolpuddle, and the New Poor Law riots have long attracted the attention of historians, but here John E. Archer focuses on the persistent war waged in the countryside during the 1800s, analysing the prevailing climate of unrest, discontent, and desperation. In this detailed and scholarly study, based on intensive research among the local records of Norfolk and […]

The People’s Farm

English Radical Agrarianism 1775-1840

By Malcolm Chase
The People’s Farm: English Radical Agrarianism 1775-1840
This book traces the development of agrarian ideas from the 1770s through to Chartism, and seeks to explain why, in an era of industrialization and urban growth, land remained one of the major issues in popular politics. Malcolm Chase considers the relationship between ‘land consciousness’ and early socialism; attempts to create alternative communities; and contemporary perceptions of nature and the environment. He concludes that, far from being an anachronistic, utopian, and reactionary […]

By Rite

Custom, Ceremony and Community in England 1700-1880

By Bob Bushaway
By Rite: Custom, Ceremony and Community in England 1700-1880
Political philosophers (such as Gramsci) and social historians (such as E. P. Thompson) have suggested that rural customs and ceremonies have much more to them than the picturesqueness which has attracted traditional folklorists. They can be seen to have a purpose in the structures of rural society. But no historian has really pursued this idea for the English folk materials of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: the period from which most evidence survives. Bringing together a wealth of […]


By Wu Ming
First known as 'Luther Blisset', Bologna's fiction-writing collective return with a stylish atmospheric and provocotive saga set in British America in the years prior to the white settler uprising of 1776. There's the rub: turning received ideas on their head, as ever, Wu Ming evoke the coming rebellion through the eyes of the Mohawk nation loyal to George III, the 'Great English Father'. At the core of this sweeping, narrative, bursting with colour and character, stands the real-life war chief, […]

The Darker the Night the Brighter the Stars

By Friedrich Schlotterbeck
The Darker the Night the Brighter the Stars
This is a personal account of one man’s experiences in Germany from 1933 until the end of the war in 1945. As a communist, arrested by the Gestapo, tortured and sent to a concentration camp, he describes his existence of ten years as a prisoner of the nazi regime. He gives an insight into how the system operated, mainly by brutality and betrayal. The courage and bravery of people who opposed the fascists is conveyed clearly in this account and it is an important record of ordinary working men […]

Landscape For A Good Woman

By Carolyn Steedman
Landscape For A Good Woman
This book challenges what has previously been written about the working class in this country. The descriptions that have been oversimplified, putting people and their families from that background into a lumpen mass assuming the psychological sameness of all, and interpreted mainly by people who are not working class. In fact, class consciousness has often not been perceived as psychological consciousness. The autobiographical story is told through the memories of the author's childhood during […]

The 43 Group

By Morris Beckman
The 43 Group
The 43 Group is a riveting account of militant anti-fascist resistance in the UK in the years following the second world war. In existence for only 5 years, the group were mainly active in London where Mosley's British Union of Fascists were busiest in their attempts to win favour amongst the white working class. Initially comprised of ex-servicemen, the Group were appalled at the xenophobic and anti-Semitic ranting of the Mosleyites, who would meet on London's street corners and berate […]

Caliban and the Witch

Women the Body and Primitive Accumulation

By Silvia Federici
Caliban and the Witch: Women the Body and Primitive Accumulation
Caliban And The Witch is a history of the body in the transition to capitalism. Moving from the peasant revolts of the late Middle Ages to the witch-hunts and the rise of mechanical philosophy, Federici investigates the capitalist rationalization of social reproduction. She shows how the battle against the rebel body and mind are essential conditions for the development of labour power and self-ownership, two central principles of modern social organization (Autonomedia). The historical […]

Ehud’s Dagger

Class Struggle in the English Revolution

By James Holstun
Ehud's Dagger: Class Struggle in the English Revolution
One of our visiting academics said this book was 'hard but good', so I took up the challenge and read it. The reason it is 'hard', is mainly because of the first few chapters, which launch into the sometimes vicious debate between historical revisionists (who basically think history is made by powerful individuals/institutions, we are of course unimportant), the post-modernists (who think it is so complex and non-linear it is hard to say anything so they get obsessed with making minor details […]

Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of The Third World

By Mike Davis
Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of The Third World
This book is an interesting and necessary cross discipline (historical, economic and meteorological) explanation of the horrific famines in China, India and Brazil at the end of the 19th century. Starting from the premise that revisionist and even Marxist historians (Hobsbawm gives them one line in his famous trilogy) have ignored these massive events or failed to link them across these disciplines, he goes on to explain how the dogmatic free market approach of the British ruling class married […]